If you have a one-story home with a full basement, then that basement represents a major portion of its usable space.
The best way to make use of this space is to finish the basement into a new, comfortable living space. But like all home improvements, a little preparation beforehand can go a long way to protecting your investment.
Flooding In A Finished Basement
Few things can destroy a newly finished basement like groundwater flooding or a plumbing failure.
Taking a few precautions before a flood occurs can prevent this issue and protect your home. This includes eliminating all existing and potential sources of flooding and addressing any issues with humidity in the space.
Finishing The Basement
An unfinished basement is a prime candidate for creating new living space in your home. Before any construction begins, it already comes with outer walls preconstructed, and many pipes and utility lines already in place.
Additionally, the earth around the basement makes it cooler than the outside air in the summer and warmer in the winter. Making this space comfortable requires insulation and a little extra work from your HVAC system.
The Challenge Of Basement Finishing
Homeowners who have a wet basement are often reluctant to invest in finishing, worrying that water damage will ruin their new space.
However, with a little preparation (including a warrantied basement waterproofing system), your basement can be permanently protected from any moisture damage to drywall, insulation, or property.
If you’re planning on finishing your basement, call us first! Our experts can dry your basement and get it ready to make the most of your remodeling investment.
To schedule a free basement upgrade quote, contact us by phone or e-mail today! Our experts serve throughout the Western PA, Northern West Virginia, and Eastern Ohio area, including Morgantown, Pittsburgh, Clarksburg and nearby.
Eight Steps To Take Before Finishing
At Baker’s Waterproofing, we’ve seen just about everything that can happen to a finished basement, and we’ve been called in to waterproof them daily. Once the basement is finished, repairing and waterproofing the space is much more expensive.
If you’re planning to finish the basement, this is what we recommend to prepare it beforehand. If your basement is already finished, many of these precautions may still be made.
1. Install An Effective Drainage System
If your basement floods after it’s been finished, the flooding groundwater will damage drywall, fiberglass insulation, and many other wall finishing products.
To repair a finished basement that’s flooded, you will need to cut away the damaged wall, fiberglass, and studs so that a drainage system can be installed. After the drainage system has been installed, we have a drywall repair system available to install, or you can opt to bring a carpenter in afterward.
However, the better choice is to install that drainage system before the basement is finished. Many homeowners choose this option as a precaution even if their basement has never flooded before.
2. Install A Complete Sump Pump System
Installing a sump pump system ensures that you can discharge large volumes of water from your home in the case of heavy rains of a plumbing failure. If you’ve installed a drainage system, you should definitely install a sump pump system as well.
The best sump pumps are ready for anything — including power outages and sump pump failure. This means that your system should include both a battery backup sump pump and a secondary sump system that can kick on if your primary pump fails.
The systems we install at Baker’s Waterproofing also include an alarm system that sounds off in the unlikely event of a pump failure — so you can respond right away.
3. Guard Against Frozen Discharge Lines
If you have a sump pump system, it will generally discharge water outside of your home, sending it downhill so it does not pool around your foundation.
One of the most common causes of sump pump failure occurs when these discharge lines become clogged with ice or debris. Once the water has no way out of the home, the sump system backs up, and a flood occurs in your finished basement.
To protect against this issue, your drainage system should include an open discharge line extension such as our IceGuard™ System, which gives water a secondary way out of your home.
4. Seal The Basement Walls
Because concrete basement walls are porous, they sponge moisture from the earth outside. This moisture enters your basement in the form of water vapor. This moisture will then build up behind walls, leading to mold, mildew, and moisture issues.
Address this issue by covering your basement walls with a vapor barrier system, such as our None Radiant Heat and Vapor Barrier System.
This product creates a barrier for water vapor, protecting your finishing products and directing any water into your perimeter drain. The added radiant heat barrier reflects heat back, making your finished space more comfortable and energy efficient.
5. Install A Warm, Dry Floor
Like the basement walls, moisture can also make its way upwards through a concrete floor.
If you’re planning on installing anything on your floor that can be damaged by mold or moisture (carpeting, wood, chipboard, glue, etc.), then it’s vital that you install a vapor barrier beneath it to protect your floor finishing.Our None Sub Floor™ is the ideal choice. Along with providing a durable subfloor, it also lifts your flooring off the cold concrete for a warmer surface underfoot.
We also have many different options for finished basement flooring, including synthetic wood and tile designs in carpet and stone tiles.
6. Upgrade Those Basement Windows
Your basement windows are vital to the beauty and appeal of a finished basement. If they’re dingy, rusty, and providing a front-row view of a rusted window well, then they’re not doing their job.
We recommend upgrading your basement windows to a model with energy-efficient glass and a vinyl frame.
While you’re at it, protect the windows from rain, snow, and cold winter winds by installing covered basement window wells at each window location.
Along with keeping back the cold, the cover will also hold back dirt, leaves, and other debris that would otherwise fill the window well, grow weeds and look ugly.
7. Install A Ducted Dehumidifier System
Keeping your basement dry is key to creating a healthier, more comfortable space in your home. Eliminating humidity will keep mold, mildew and rot under control, and can even lower heating and cooling costs.
A good dehumidifier should run without the owner even knowing it’s working. The best ones are self-draining and can be installed with ductwork. That way, they can dry air in your living space while being stored in a closet or utility area. Our AquaStop Air System can be operated via a digital control panel, similar to a home thermostat.
When possible, look for a dehumidifier that’s ENERGY STAR® Rated to ensure maximum savings on your utility bills.
8. Perform Basic Exterior Maintenance
For a typical home, a 1″ rainfall adds up to about 500 gallons of water on your roof. Unless your exterior is properly designed to handle this water volume, this can mean a lot of water in the soils around your basement.
Extending your downspouts and keeping your gutters clean of leaves and debris is an important part of properly maintaining your home (and will help prevent damaging ice dams in the winter). Your basement window wells should also be carefully cleaned of leaves, debris, and weeds about twice a year.
To make sure that water is running away from your home, it’s also vital to check the grading. If necessary, regrade this soil so it’s pitched away from the foundation.
Let Us Help You Prepare Your Basement For Finishing!
We can dry your basement and prepare the walls, floors, windows, and home plumbing for a finishing system. Protecting your basement from moisture will ensure that your remodeling work stays valuable and looking great for many decades to come.
It costs you nothing to meet with us for a free basement quote! Our specialist can stop by to measure your basement, make recommendations, and answer any questions you may have. While we’re there, we’ll create a customized plan for your basement, including a written cost quote.
Our experts proudly provide free quotes to the Western PA, Northern West Virginia, and Eastern Ohio area, including Clarksburg, Morgantown, Pittsburgh, the surrounding areas of Bethel Park, Beaver, Wheeling, Cranberry Township, Greensburg, Washington, Fairmont, and nearby.